Literature

Carpe Jugulum


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Bizarre, Hilarious, Wonderful

A friend and I have a habit of sharing favorite books. He'll read something he loves and then send it to me; or I'll find something great and send it to him; or sometimes we'll both want to read the same thing and whoever finishes first will throw their copy in the mail. It's really wonderful.

The other day, he sent me a copy of Carpe Jugulum, one of the books in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. As soon as I pulled the book out of the box, I knew my friend really, really loved it: its purple-and-orange cover was dog-eared and beaten up like he'd read it over and over again. And as soon as I started reading the book myself, I understood why.

Carpe Jugulum is about a family of pioneering and forward-thinking vampires'"vampyrs"'who have managed to overcome all the weapons used to kill them through the power of the mind (i.e., something to the effect of: "This is a piece of wire twisted into the shape of a cross; therefore it will not kill me.") The Count, the head of the family, is convinced that their vulnerability to such things as lemons are all in their brains; so he has been exposing his family to garlic, sunlight, and holy symbols in the hope that it will make them immune. To his delight, all of his proactivity has worked; and now they are ready to expand their kingdom. But their invasion into another king's realm -' forward-thinking as it may be -' is not without obstacles. Arrayed against them are three witches and several other interesting characters: a falconer, a priest, and an army of tiny blue men among them. These do-gooders go through an arsenal of lemons and holy symbols before they... Well, I would not want to spoil the entire story for you.

Pratchett tells this story of archetypes-turned-on-their-heads with an amazing sense of humor. He makes fun of anything, finds the humor in everything. This was the first Pratchett book I read, and his style took a little getting used to at first; but once I did I could not stop laughing.

I loved reading this book. I might have to head up to Boston'to visit my friend, yes, but mainly to raid his bookcase. I can't wait to read more of Pratchett's amazing stories.

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Updated Aug 12, 2017 1:45 PM EDT | More details

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